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Matthee and Beyers race into SA track cycling history
- Updated: April 2, 2016
Elite Women track specialists Maroesjka Matthee (BestMed ASG) and Bernette Beyers (Team Energas) etched their names in the record books when they posted a time of 37.19 seconds in the Elite Women Team Sprint late on day four of the 2016 South African Track and Para-cycling Championships at the Westbourne Oval.
They toppled the previous record of 37.26 seconds.Also adding his name to the record books was C5 Para-cyclist, Christian Duvenage, who crossed the line in the Time Trial in 1:14.42, smashing the previous record of 1:23.06.
Port Elizabeth’s notorious wind came out to play on the fifth and final day of the Track and Para-cycling Championships with conditions worsening as the day’s activities progressed. Despite the added challenge to the conditions, the competitors came out tops and put on a thrilling display of exciting track racing action.
New national records for the day went to the younger age groups with the under-10 Boys and Girls, and the under-12 Girls competing in the first ever Team Pursuits in these age groups. In doing so, they have set the national records and the benchmark for the young stars to challenge in the future.
Emma Swart, Allesandro Fanicchi, Allesio Venceslau and Nathan Hattingh made up a combined boys and girls team to complete the 2000-metre Team Pursuit, finishing in 4:35.14, while Megan Meyer, Torq Beukes, Teagan Meyer and Mia Fortuin raced the under-12 Girls race over the same distance in 3:44.37.
The exciting Elimination and Keirin events were also held on Friday and had spectators glued to their seats.
Team Telkom’s David Maree and Nolan Hoffman were the last men standing in the Elite Men Elimination, with a thrilling sprint finish that went down to the wire, with Maree the victor!
‘This is the third time I’ve won it and I’m very happy,’ said an ecstatic Maree. ‘The Elimination is probably the most nerve-racking race for me. The start is where I’m most nervous. I almost got caught out for fourth place, which would’ve been bad but luckily a gap opened up for me. I really enjoy this race – there are nerves and there is speed, it’s great!’
The Keirin discipline added yet another thrilling display of top-notch racing action. Bernette Beyers (Team Energas) beat Maroesjka Matthee (BestMed ASG) and Charlene du Preez (Clover) to take the Elite Women’s title in 14.8 seconds.
‘I decided to go early as soon as the bike went off to split it open and bring the strongest with me on the home straight against the wind. I kicked again and held the gap until the end.
‘This is the style of racing that they do in Europe that we need to implement in South African racing. After the race, when I got my breath back, I went back to the last banking to fetch my legs lying there,’ she laughed.
Beyers explained that the training course at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, took her track cycling to a new level. ‘I’m comfortable with the sport and more secure within myself and the experience and knowledge I have gained is life changing. I now understand track cycling races a lot better, how races develop, how to win and what to do to make it to the line first.’
The popular Madison event was initially cancelled due to the excessive winds, which deemed the race unsafe for the cyclists. But the riders insisted that the race be held and that the trophy be taken home for 2016. The Madison was held early on Saturday morning.
Cycling SA President, William Newman, said: ‘First of all I’d like to congratulate the Eastern Cape Cycling Association for putting on a great 2016 Track Champs event. In all aspects it’s been successful, even the weather has played its part, although it has been windy in some occasions on some days. The racing has been of an extremely high standard.
‘I’ve been really impressed with the number of competitors – I think we had a record entry field this year. It was very good to see heats having to be run for some of the bunch races, like the 1500m. And the big numbers in terms of the younger age categories – the under-10s, under-12s and under-14s.
‘It is very encouraging to see so many youngsters within our sport of track cycling. In terms of the ways things have gone, I think this has been wonderful for the sport of cycling, and its a great opportunity for partners and sponsors to get involved to help us further develop the sport.
‘Track cycling is a fundamental part of cycling development and teaches an incredible amount of skill and bicycle control from a very young age. It also provides a safe place for riders to train away from the dangers of the road. Track cycling race meetings, as well as the other cycling disciplines’ race events hosted in South Africa, are all part of build up and in support of the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games
‘With each contest held in track cycling, it proves that this essential cycling discipline is very much alive and well in the country.
‘In terms of track cycling in the Eastern Cape, I think there is huge potential to have even more events here,’ said Newman. ‘The Eastern Cape is one of the provinces that are quite resourced with tracks, with three tracks within a 10km radius of each other.
‘I’d like to see those tracks being the centres of track development activity. It’s a nice, safe environment to get kids into the sport and to teach them to ride bicycles and I’d like to see some activity beyond National Championships.’
Picture of Maroesjka Matthee and Bernette Beyers courtesy of Darren Goddard